Under the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Thus, the plan of those opposing the Anti-Terrorism Bill to hold protests on Independence Day – regardless of whether they have read and understood the bill – is their basic right, guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.
Terrorism knows no timing nor borders. Some of our country’s policy-makers, especially our people, should know better than just criticizing and believing the massive disinformation campaign against a measure that can secure and protect us as well as our families and loved ones from terrorist acts perpetrated in a manner so sudden, least expected and indiscriminate – as in anytime, probably even today, tomorrow or next week.
That said, I incorporated most of the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism laws of other strong democracies like Australia and the United States, further guided by the standards set by the United Nations, save for the reglementary period of detention in which we adopted the shortest time of 14 days – compared to Thailand with up to 30 days; Malaysia, up to two years; Singapore at 720 days extendible to an indefinite period of detention without formal charges; and Indonesia, up to 120 additional days. Also, safeguards have been put in place to ensure the rights of those detained.
With the help of many of my colleagues who interpellated and proposed their individual amendments, including all the members of the minority bloc, I was more than accommodating to accept their amendments as long as we would not end up with another dead-letter law such as the Human Security Act of 2007, which has so far resulted in just one conviction after more than a decade of its implementation and just one proscribed terrorist organization such as the Abu Sayyaf Group.
To the critics, I dare say: I hope the day will not come when you or any of your loved ones will be at the receiving end of a terrorist attack, so much so that it will be too late for you to regret convincing the Filipino people to junk this landmark legislation.
Speaker Cayetano may have a point since the Constitution provides that bills of local application like franchise measures must originate from the House of Representatives.
He is wrong in equating it to the Charter change issue, though, since as practiced and for expediency, we conduct committee hearings on tax and budget measures even before the House transmits its approved version of the bill to the Senate.
What can be considered blatantly violative of the Constitution is if the Senate committee chairperson reports out on the floor for plenary debates the committee report. This is something we have not done and will never do.
Having said that, what I understand to be tackled by the Public Services Committee are not the bills in connection with the ABS-CBN franchise but a filed resolution to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN that is being questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition in which I have earlier expressed reservation out of courtesy to a co-equal branch that has already given due course to the said petition.
Being bicameral, without the Senate agreeing to amending the Charter via a constituent assembly, no amount of determined efforts by the House members will bring to reality new provisions of the 1987 Constitution, whether economic or political.
Ipinanukala ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pagkakaroon ng “reserba” pang lider ng bansa sakaling mapahamak ang Bise Presidente, Senate President at House Speaker na batay sa Saligang Batas ay kahalili ng Pangulo kung hindi na nito kayang mamuno.
Isinampa ni Lacson ang Senate Bill 982, na tinaguriang “Designated Survivor” Bill na naglalayong hindi mabakante ang liderato ng pamahalaan at magtuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operasyon ng gobyerno sakali mang mapahamak ang mga nabanggit na opisyal.
“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a “designated survivor” bill to guarantee the continuity and stability of operations in government in case of a terrorist attack, major disaster or other “exceptional circumstances” where the President and those specified by the Constitution to succeed him or her are killed or permanently disabled.
Lacson said Senate Bill 982 ensures the office of the President will not be vacated even in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the Acting President.
“This bill … seeks to provide an exhaustive line/order of presidential succession in the event of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the Acting President to ensure that the office of the President is never vacated even in exceptional circumstances,” Lacson said.
Labag sa batas ng Pilipinas ang inpormasyon o materyal na bunga ng wiretapping activities na “imported” o galing sa ibang bansa, ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang naturang impormasyon ay salungat din sa pangunahing obligasyon ng Estado na protektahan ang mga Pilipino laban sa pang-aabuso at banta.
Inilatag ni Lacson, na naging pinuno ng Philippine National Police mula 1999 hanggang 2001, ang isang klarong halimbawa kung ang isang indibiduwal galing sa ibayong dagat at mahulihan ng marijuana paglapag sa paliparan sa bansa ay siguradong agad na sasampahan ng kaso ng paglabag sa mga batas ng Pilipinas laban sa ilegal na droga.
“What if someone brings into the country marijuana which he/she got or bought from a foreign country where possession and use of the same is legal? Will the person who brought in the marijuana not be violating the Dangerous Drugs Act?” tanong pa ni Lacson.